Taupata/Mirror Bush Coprosma repens
Endemic. Not threatened
This endemic species is common in the Foxton Beach area, in the Estuary, the dunes, and around the township. In the Dune Garden wetland area, it is not common, but seedlings pop up all the time, and a few will doubtless grow to maturity, even if that is not presently the case. In Estuaries along this coast, it is not unusual to find a small Taupata tree growing in the crevices of a larger fallen tree trunk. In the dunes, it can thrive on the front side of the front dune, and is a versatile plant evolved for this area.
It interestingly is in the same family as coffee and forms a bush or small tree reaching up to 8m. Shiny leaves are not unique to the species, but certainly are a characteristic, hence one of its alternative names is ‘mirror plant’. It is also called the New Zealand laurel which it does vaguely resemble.
Peak flowering period is reported to be from June to February with the green/white flowers developing into orange berries from July onwards.
While found wild only in Aotearoa New Zealand, it is naturalised in Hawaii, Australia, California and South Africa and in some areas, it is now classed as a weed. Also grown widely as a garden plant, consequently various cultivars have been developed.